A Leighton Buzzard theatre school is looking forward to being able to opens its doors in September after supporting its students from afar during the pandemic.
As lockdown is gently lifted, schools return and we all get back into some sort of routine, the effects of the pandemic and parents’ worries are starting to be revealed.
A Loose Women investigation has found that 55% of parents fear that the global Coronavirus pandemic will have a long-term effect on their children's mental health. The Covid Kids: The State of Our Children's Wellbeing survey also found that 46% of parents agree that their child's mental health has suffered for the first time ever as a result of the pandemic. OnePoll surveyed 1,000 parents with children aged 4-16.
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Razzamataz Theatre Schools work with thousands of children from the ages of 2 to 18 across the UK. Throughout the various lockdowns, the schools have continued to reach out to children and parents through small, live classes, online social activities and special workshops with coaches to support wellbeing and mental health.
“It is no surprise to us that parents have concerns over their children’s wellbeing,” said Samantha Wingfield, principal of Razzamataz Leighton Buzzard. “Lack of structure, limited chance to exercise and increased screen time can all have a detrimental effect on children’s mental health.
"However, as a theatre school, this is something we are very aware of and we have put a lot of thought, time and effort into building back resilience, which first and foremost includes making sure the students are having fun.”
Razzamataz Leighton Buzzard is set to launch in September at a venue yet to be confirmed. While the engagement in the online lessons and masterclasses, including a session with Strictly champion Oti Mabuse, has been extremely high, they say nothing can beat getting kids back into the classrooms.
“We are now focussing on the future for our students and looking at ways we can help them achieve their dreams, whatever they may be,” added Samantha. “Not being in school has led to a loss in confidence for many and, for older students, this can have a worrying impact on their future life decisions.”
She pointed out that performing arts has so many benefits for children and young people; teaching them life skills, improved communication and ways in which they can express themselves. “Over the last year, students have missed out on the usual opportunities that the classroom provides,” added Samantha. “Reading aloud, presenting ideas in front of the class and expressing opinions are all things that have taken a back seat while schools have been closed. We know that performing arts can give young people the confidence to articulate their ideas and we can’t wait to start working with them to help in these areas.”
For young people that dream of a life as a professional performer, Razzamataz is once again offering to support them with financial assistance through the theatre school’s very own charity, the Future Fund.
“We want to give young people something to aim for and be excited about again,” she said. “Our students have shown such resilience by continuing with their training from home and working really hard to maintain their fitness.
"We are delighted to once again be gearing up to hold our Future Fund auditions in the summer. Every year we have a panel of industry professionals from the stage and screen, and this year is no exception. We want young people to believe in themselves again and we will do all we can to help make this happen.”
The winners of the Future Fund scholarships will receive financial grants from money raised by the entire Razzamataz network through fundraising activities. This will be used to go towards their further education in the arts.
Razzamataz Leighton Buzzard is gearing up for their opening on September 11. There is still opportunity to join the school, with the age groups ranging from four to 18. For new students, booking for the first free trial session is essential. To find out more, contact Samantha Wingfield on 07861920367, email: leightonb[email protected] or visit: leightonbuzzard.razzamataz.co.uk